Pay per lift
34 posts
17 users
2k+ views
SeniorSki
2 months ago
Member since 01/31/2022 🔗
45 posts
Has the industry considered this approach? Imagine you have a 2 hr window and you would like to get in a couple plus runs. Show up on your time, pass through RFID gate, resort gets a direct deposit for each lift ride, the skier decides the last lift choice, then departs resort. Resort could sell an open seasonal ski pass that only charges the skier each time passing through RFID gate. 
marzNC - DCSki Supporter 
2 months ago
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
2,988 posts

SeniorSki wrote:

Has the industry considered this approach? Imagine you have a 2 hr window and you would like to get in a couple plus runs. Show up on your time, pass through RFID gate, resort gets a direct deposit for each lift ride, the skier decides the last lift choice, then departs resort. Resort could sell an open seasonal ski pass that only charges the skier each time passing through RFID gate. 

 Keep in mind that RFID is relatively new in the east, and in the USA in general.  The N. American ski industry is decades behind Europe when it comes to RFID for lift access.  The pandemic pushed many resorts to invest the money much more quickly than they planned, if they had planned to move in that direction at all.  For instance, Massanutten started RFID for the 2021-22 season but didn't really have it completely ready.  Re-loading online is only starting this season.  In contrast, Jiminy Peak went to RFID a while back.  The flexibility for different types of approaches to lift access by time and day of week was reflected on the JP website when I had a chance to ski there in 2016-19 when my daughter was in school in Boston.

Massanutten was an early adopter of the 4-hour/8-hour lift ticket approach, plus 30 minutes to allow time for people who rented gear.  With RFID, there is no allowance but of course the time clock doesn't start until the customer goes through an access gate for the first time.

Have you looked at the wide variety of pass options available in other regions?  The creativity of small ski areas and independent resorts is noticeable.  The pandemic put a much greater emphasis on encouraging people to ski midweek or in the afternoons.  There was a pass in the PacNW that allowed people to start skiing any day after 2pm.  That mountain is near an urban area and is popular for night skiing.  Pretty sure the cost was under $300 for the entire season.

SeniorSki
2 months ago
Member since 01/31/2022 🔗
45 posts
Agree the RFID system is new to this area, not sure how many resorts implement the tech now. Next season could be a large expansion of the tech. Seems to me that resorts could customize the tech to each individual resorts potential skier usage. A few examples could be larger number of early season skiers willing to ski one run from the top at 5 to 10 dollars per lift/run instead of paying full price to ski one run. I’m addition the end season could attract more skiers as trail counts decline. Skiers maybe inclined to ski 5 plus runs on one trail instead of paying full price. Possibly also attract the older skier who only wants to ski 5 to 10 runs and done. Out west could be a game changer. I have skied Jackson hole 3 times, my favorite. I would definitely pay 25 bucks to ride the tram to the top, it takes 30 min to get back to the tram, 2 or 3 times and I’m done for the day. Allows the skier tremendous flexibility and value. Plus the skier decides when to start, when to stop, show up and go, straight to the lift line then straight to the car. I’m sure resorts have skier traffic numbers and could base the fee on the average daily lift usage per skier, how many times a skier rides up on average. For the aggressive skier the daily lift usage could be capped at the normal daily lift ticket price. There are many configurations that could be implored and explored. 
SeniorSki
2 months ago
Member since 01/31/2022 🔗
45 posts
Since I just turned 65 and retired I would jump into a system that would allow me to ski on my time along with my choice of the amount of runs that these old bones can take 🙂
DCSki Sponsor: Canaan Valley Resort
marzNC - DCSki Supporter 
2 months ago
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
2,988 posts

SeniorSki wrote:

Since I just turned 65 and retired I would jump into a system that would allow me to ski on my time along with my choice of the amount of runs that these old bones can take 🙂

 Are you talking about within day trip distance or at a destination resort?  Or an independent ski mountain not on Ikon/Epic/MCP?  A few of those are great places to spend a week or two.  A season pass can be under $400 if bought early on for an adult, or cheaper for a senior.

Leo
2 months ago
Member since 11/15/2005 🔗
323 posts

There are enough fixed (or essentially fixed) costs to operating a ski resort that it would almost certainly have to be in addition to a flat season or day pass cost.  

Which would not be terribly popular with skiers.  But just like everything else I'm sure eventually some resort will consider it (or something similar) and open the floodgates.

MarkRebuck
2 months ago
Member since 12/16/2020 🔗
22 posts

I think the "base fee + per-lift charge" model makes a ton of sense.  Last year and this year, I purchased N-day Epic passes, but I didn't really like needing figure out ahead of time what the correct value should be for N.  And when I go, I feel an urge to "maximize my day" to get the most $ out of that day's pass.  I would love the flexibility of being able to pop in for a few quick runs without needing to burn a day pass or buy a full season pass.

The pricing would have to be right, of course, but I have a feeling that there is a price structure which would get me to ski more, pay more, and be happier, which would be a win for both the resort and for me.

Moe Gull
2 months ago
Member since 09/5/2022 🔗
25 posts
Scanning at mid-mountain lifts is usually either not done or not done with as much diligence, so that would be a curveball.
marzNC - DCSki Supporter 
2 months ago
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
2,988 posts

Moe Gull wrote:

Scanning at mid-mountain lifts is usually either not done or not done with as much diligence, so that would be a curveball.

 Certainly the cost of adding RFID gates at all lifts would have to be factored in.

There are different versions of RFID.  What Vail Resorts created for Epic passes in 2008 is different than what was being used by Alta since 2004 or 2005.  Boyne Resorts spent 3 years working with Axess to create the first dual-frequency system that they rolled out relatively recently.  The fact that Epic passes can be hand scanned is one of the unique features.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter 
2 months ago
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
2,988 posts
The way Timberline handles their discounts is unique for the Mid-Atlantic.  If you decide to stop early, then you get a credit on your RFID card.  The credit is good towards another lift ticket, food & beverage, or at the resort's shop.  There are other ways to get discounts that are also added to the card.  Credit carries over to the next year in most cases.
JimK - DCSki Columnist
2 months ago
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,852 posts


 

SeniorSki wrote:

Has the industry considered this approach? Imagine you have a 2 hr window and you would like to get in a couple plus runs. Show up on your time, pass through RFID gate, resort gets a direct deposit for each lift ride, the skier decides the last lift choice, then departs resort. Resort could sell an open seasonal ski pass that only charges the skier each time passing through RFID gate. 

-----------------------------------------------------

Tough question because it seems to me the industry has moved in the opposite direction.  They're pricing day tickets high and season passes relatively low so many are persuaded to buy a season pass and the industry gets a lot of revenue up-front removing some of the risk of low day ticket sales in poor snow years.

If a mtn was to charge by the lift ride, I have a feeling it would be quite pricey, perhaps $10 to $20 per ride?  Who would be in the market for that?  It might be limited to folks who live very close to the mtn.  I can't imagine too many people would drive 90 minutes or more to ski three or four runs??  I guess they could make the RFID smart enough to charge less to ride a small beginner lift vs. a big high speed quad.  That might make it more attractive for beginners.

dclivejazz
2 months ago
Member since 03/5/2017 🔗
44 posts
I really don’t see the benefit of this idea. I’m retired and a so-so skier who likes to avoid crowds and prefers to ski midweek. With my epic local pass I can just show up and ski as much or as little as I like. I figure I ski enough to more or less break even, without having to deal with ticket windows. But I don’t live near enough to a resort to plan on just doing two or three runs. I have done that if it’s icy at Whitetail, say, but otherwise I want to make the drive out there and back worthwhile. 

I feel like skiing on my pass already achieves the aim of this idea. It will be even better once I qualify for a senior discount.
SeniorSki
2 months ago
Member since 01/31/2022 🔗
45 posts
Good points, I haven’t looked into the epic pass. Need to research that. 


Scott - DCSki Editor
2 months ago
Member since 10/10/1999 🔗
1,205 posts

SeniorSki wrote:

Good points, I haven’t looked into the epic pass. Need to research that. 


 Check out this story I wrote earlier this year that describes the major pass options, including Epic:

https://www.dcski.com/articles/1679

marzNC - DCSki Supporter 
2 months ago
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
2,988 posts

SeniorSki wrote:

Good points, I haven’t looked into the epic pass. Need to research that. 


 Better do it fast.  The deadline is Dec. 4.  The way Epic works is that once the deadline is reached, no more passes of any kind are sold for any price.

For context, the deadline for Ikon is Dec. 20.  There is no senior Ikon price.

The Mountain Collective Pass is only for destination resorts out west.  That will go off sale for the season by mid-Dec.  Only worthwhile for people who can plan to ski at least two of the resorts and a good deal if can get to three or more.

There are a few Epic and Ikon resorts that have 1-location passes.  For Ikon, those exist for Snowshoe, which is owned by Alterra.  For Epic, there is the regional pass for the northeast.  Epic 1-location and regional passes exist for small hills in the midwest, most of which were owned by Peak Resorts.

Denis - DCSki Supporter 
2 months ago
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,298 posts
When I renew my season pass, I don’t need to get a new RFID card since all the information it has is my identity.  Everything else is done at a remotely located computer that communicates with the on-slope readers.  So it seems to me that it should be trivially easy to do what senior skier has suggested, if the resorts wanted to do it.
Laurel Hill Crazie - DCSki Supporter 
2 months ago
Member since 08/16/2004 🔗
1,986 posts
The Epic Northeast midweek pass for seniors is $317. That gets you access to 21 resorts, including all 3 Laurel Highland resorts and the former Snow Time/Peak resorts Whitetail, Liberty, and Roundtop, all in the Washington/Baltimore market.   
marzNC - DCSki Supporter 
2 months ago
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
2,988 posts

Laurel Hill Crazie wrote:

The Epic Northeast midweek pass for seniors is $317. That gets you access to 21 resorts, including all 3 Laurel Highland resorts and the former Snow Time/Peak resorts Whitetail, Liberty, and Roundtop, all in the Washington/Baltimore market.   

 To put that into context, Massanutten offers a Special Value Pass that is $379 until Dec. 10 and was $324 in the spring.  That's good anytime Sun-Fri, as well as Sat night once night skiing starts, as well as during any day during early and late season.  Once someone reaches age 70, it's possible to get a Special Value Pass for free by paying a $19 processing fee.  The price has gone up but still a good deal for a single mountain considering that trails on the upper mountain were added for 2022-23.

The Timberline Bronze pass offers lift access for any single day Mon-Fri in every week of the season.  Price for seniors over 60 is currently $266 and started at $159. During the first half of Dec 2022, Timberline is committing to being open Fri-Sun until 7-day operations can begin.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter 
2 months ago
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
2,988 posts

Denis wrote:

When I renew my season pass, I don’t need to get a new RFID card since all the information it has is my identity.  Everything else is done at a remotely located computer that communicates with the on-slope readers.  So it seems to me that it should be trivially easy to do what senior skier has suggested, if the resorts wanted to do it.

 Perhaps "trivial" from the standpoint of the customer, but any software update and testing would take some effort.  As someone pointed out earlier, from an operational standpoint what about the lifts without an RFID gate or anyone doing hand scanning for Epic resorts?  What about beginner lifts?  Magic carpets?

marzNC - DCSki Supporter 
2 months ago
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
2,988 posts

Got curious to look more at the Timberline pricing for seniors 60+.  The cheapest price for a Bronze pass was $159 before April 1.  A 3-day ticket bought online together with a new $5 RFID card is $162.  The midweek Mon-Thu credit is $10.  Suppose a senior skis 3 days midweek in three different weeks, getting a 3-day ticket would be $132 with $30 credit to spend on food or beverage.  No reservation required, no need to choose a date in advance.  Makes the Bronze pass a no-brainer for someone willing to make the drive from DC/NoVA or western PA.

Combined with an Indy Pass for CV, a senior willing to do a couple of overnight midweek trips in addition to a day trip to Timberline would have little trouble getting good value from a Bronze pass.  Day trips to Bryce and Massanutten could make 6 days on Indy, which was around $300 in the spring and $329 before Dec. 1.

SeniorSki
2 months ago
Member since 01/31/2022 🔗
45 posts
Lots of good info. Looking forward to getting out soon, first time in a long time. My skis are definitely out of date, Rosie’s 7 S straight skis, 195. Some resorts use to rent top end skis are they still out there? Probably will opt for a used ski package from Santa. 

ZARDOG
2 months ago
Member since 10/25/2020 🔗
142 posts

Dear SeniorSki.  

Don't mean to pry. I follow surveys on participation.

Before COVID the numbers were flat. actually heading a slow-down trend over the next 20 years.

Covid had more people getting outdoors in many ways.

What brought you back to the thought of skiing and investing $ in the product.?

Last Season USA set a record in visits. 

As for value. Skiing mid-week is addictive vs weekend or holiday. 

my Cost per hour (17 visits) was under 6$ per hr.  I ski for 3 to 4 hrs. 

More moved to mid-week last season by 8%.

Many of us seasoned (SR) skiers are out midweek. 

zardog

SeniorSki
2 months ago
Member since 01/31/2022 🔗
45 posts
All good, just recently retired, have some physical ailments that might hinder skiing hours, but definitely jumping in this season and give it a go. Couldn’t find the time while working, refuse to ski on weekends and holidays. 15 years out of skiing not sure what to expect. Last season had a couple of windows then the ski terrain went bad quickly, don’t know how some of the resorts survived. Looking to start off at White Tail then evaluate. Then have eyes on Timberline, Canaan, with some interest in Massanutten, Blue Mt and even Blue Knob if they get dumped on and have all trails open. All day trips. 
SeniorSki
2 months ago
Member since 01/31/2022 🔗
45 posts
Also being on a fixed budget, entertainment dollars, skiing dollars add up quickly. Definitely a mid-week skier only. Would love to see increased benefits for seniors, bias of course. My situation I just can’t ski 9 to 4 like I use too. First one in line, last chair up scenario. Probably around 10 runs and done depending on Mt. Have skied all over the world, France, Switzerland, Canada, New England, Wyoming (Jackson hole the best, but around 200 buck lift ticket, ouch! that is why I gladly would pay 25 bucks to ride the tram) Snowshoe and all the local ski areas at least once. Never skied Timberline but always wanted too. 

Fingers crossed that the body can take it, fantastic sport. 
ZARDOG
2 months ago
Member since 10/25/2020 🔗
142 posts

Gotcha, 

 Almost 60. telework helps me get away during the week. Plus I save 5 days of vacation for day ski.

telework only works if the resort is about  90 mins or less away. 

I am coming back from Hip replacement, Neck fusion, and Lumbar fusion.  

Retired friends also like the INDY pass.

For sure get some shaped skis. 2000 210 cm.  

Now 168 - 188 cm.  The used Demo skis are not too pricey. 

zardog

SeniorSki
2 months ago
Member since 01/31/2022 🔗
45 posts
Ha, small world I’m a titanium guy too, full hip replacement. 

I will wait on pass possibilities until next season, depending on what shakes out this season. I believe Canaan has a 4 hr mid-week pass that starts when you enter the first RFID gate, perfect for me. 

I’m looking at Baltimore Warehouse Skis, Demo package for around 400, probably 180 plus or minus

All great info. Many thanks! 
oldensign - DCSki Columnist
2 months ago
Member since 02/27/2007 🔗
479 posts

Had this "pay per run" in Japan at some of the small local hills. Only did it a time or two when I was hitting multiple resorts in a day and didn't want to pay full price. It was nice to grab a run or two for 300 yen a run (about $2.50).

They had actual paper tickets like raffle tickets. With a clear box at the lift for dropping your ticket in for a run. Of course, it was Japan and no one checked. It was pretty much the honor system.

Miss Japan.....

 

SKI-PSU
2 months ago (edited 2 months ago)
Member since 11/25/2019 🔗
14 posts

Interestingly, Mt. High in California had a pay per lift model in the early 2000's through 2019 or so. You bought points and each lift cost a certain number of points. Points could roll over from season to season and the more points you bought, the better the discount. You could also share a single card and pass it back and forth with a friend. 

Overall, it was an interesting model and I didn't hate it. One benefit was if there was a long lift line that day, you didn't feel like you were wasting $$ given you were actually paying less (fewer runs = lower cost ski day). 

Looking at their website, seems that they scrapped the model in favor of a standard full day/half day ticket structure.

Here is an old article on the system: https://www.mthigh.com/site/connect/blog/authors/john_mccolly/mountain-high-s-ticketing-options

GGNagy
2 months ago
Member since 01/5/2006 🔗
479 posts

I could see a number of disadvantages for the skier with this

  • Ski area could "adjust" the rate at any time during the season. Suddenly you are wondering why that 4$ lift ride is suddenly 5$
  • Similarly, they could enforce congestion pricing, to try and balance out lift lines/loads
  • They could start doing the fast pass/lightning pass setups like are found at amusement parks. Good for you... If you can afford it. 
  • the value of each lift is now known and that could impact things such as refurbishment or lift opening.  
Grumpy dad
2 months ago
Member since 11/7/2021 🔗
77 posts


Times flies, fast!  I learned to board at an older age that one probably should, and was bombing hills midweek during the spring almost alone on the slopes within a few years.  The year before covid I didnt get out as much, then covid hit and I literally put on more weight than I thought my body could.  Now I get on a board and I'm super timid, have very little control until I get a few runs under me then I get the confidence to throw down some modest proper turns.  

I do think alot of this has much to do with the shape Im in, but it also has to do with how long I waited to learn to board.  When I was going every weekend I was hitting pretty big jumps, now I am shaky getting on the lifts but am not that much older than when I was hitting it hard.

I got hurt pretty bad, standing still almost. I was coming to a stop, hit a chunk of ice and fell and cracked my rib.  It hurt like hell for a day or two.  That set me back mentally and then covid hit so yea...

Go easy on yourself as you get back into things.  Try to learn form and having fun.  It's no fun when you take on a hill and you are constantly in the backseat with your toes slammed to the front of your boot. I spent 95% of my time early in learning techniques on a board.

Now skiing, because I learned so early,...it's just so much easier for me.  But because of the shape Im in, my technique and proper stance stinks so I find myself in the backseat unable to get out of it and start a modest carve again, so I just point the skis straight and head down the mountain to try again.

You do need to go more than a few times a year to really connect with the sport.  Otherwise, it's really not meaningful in my opinion other than an interesting day out with friends/family.  

SeniorSki wrote:

All good, just recently retired, have some physical ailments that might hinder skiing hours, but definitely jumping in this season and give it a go. Couldn’t find the time while working, refuse to ski on weekends and holidays. 15 years out of skiing not sure what to expect. Last season had a couple of windows then the ski terrain went bad quickly, don’t know how some of the resorts survived. Looking to start off at White Tail then evaluate. Then have eyes on Timberline, Canaan, with some interest in Massanutten, Blue Mt and even Blue Knob if they get dumped on and have all trails open. All day trips. 
djop
one month ago
Member since 03/18/2002 🔗
341 posts


 Totally agreed - and don't forget it incentivises high speed operation of crowded lifts, meaning very many skiers on slope. 

GGNagy wrote:

I could see a number of disadvantages for the skier with this

  • Ski area could "adjust" the rate at any time during the season. Suddenly you are wondering why that 4$ lift ride is suddenly 5$
  • Similarly, they could enforce congestion pricing, to try and balance out lift lines/loads
  • They could start doing the fast pass/lightning pass setups like are found at amusement parks. Good for you... If you can afford it. 
  • the value of each lift is now known and that could impact things such as refurbishment or lift opening.  
Moe Gull
one month ago
Member since 09/5/2022 🔗
25 posts

GGNagy wrote:


  • They could start doing the fast pass/lightning pass setups like are found at amusement parks. Good for you... If you can afford it. 

The resorts owned by the POWDR Corporation have this I believe.

SeniorSki
one month ago
Member since 01/31/2022 🔗
45 posts
Only see a couple of scenarios working, bias of course. Call it a senior pass, and price reasonable. Seems the pass tickets works well with the aggressive skiers, however you need to commit to having a reasonable good local ski season, what happens if it is a bust?  The big resorts, large verts, I can see this being a good thing. Who wouldn’t pay 25 bucks to ride big red to the top, or any gondola or tram to the top of the mountain and take your time skiing down. I’m definitely in the minority. Just trying to get more sticks on the slopes instead of collecting dust in garage. 
superguy
one month ago
Member since 03/8/2018 🔗
500 posts
Brighton has single ride tickets.  Not sure what the cost was as I think you have to get it at the ticket window. I think it was around $10 or so though.
DCSki Sponsor: Canaan Valley Resort

Ski and Tell

Speak truth to powder.

Join the conversation by logging in.

Don't have an account? Create one here.

0.15 seconds